Fabric shopping in Bali – Klungkung market and Jalan Sulawesi in Denpasar

Hello everyone! I took a little unintentional hiatus there. I’m not going to apologise, however, because starting a blog post with an apology about how long it’s been since you posted is even more boring than asking, during a monopoly game, ‘what if this money were real’?

I do have a bit of a backlog of makes, which I had initially intended to blog and schedule to go up while S and I were on holiday in Bali a couple weeks back. However, when it came down to it I… just didn’t want to. I’d been doing a bunch of sewing in prep for the holiday, because my summer wardrobe is a bit minimal, and I was also pattern testing (that post to come soon I hope) and I just ran out of steam for blogging. So I didn’t. No need to make blogging a chore, right? It’s a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun. I’ll get to those makes eventually, but I picked up a revolting cold on the plane back and now I’m back at work and not feeling very motivated to blog OR to sew. Honestly it’s nice to have a break, and it will all still be here later, when I feel like it again.

I thought, though, that I would do a quick post and tell you about the fabric shopping I did in Bali, because before I went I looked into it and found other people’s blog posts very useful. I also found that there’s much more from the point of view of quilters, so I thought some garment-fabric perspective might be good. I will apologise for my truly terrible photos in this post, though. I was quickly snapping them while buying stuff and they’re fuzzy and wonky and… well… I was focusing on the buying not the photographing! I’ve linked to the trip advisor pages for both locations and they have more photos if you’re curious, they give a pretty good idea of the places and what there is there to buy.

I hired a driver for the day – we had a day tour earlier and hired the same driver. We were thinking about doing shopping and then maybe something touristy on the way back, time allowing. In the event, S stayed home as he was a little unwell and I went by myself, so I ended up just doing the shopping.

Klunkung market

The first place I went was the Klungkung traditional markets. It’s ostensibly about 30 minutes from Ubud where we stayed but with traffic that was more like 45 minutes. I’m not sure if there is anything particular around the markets but we passed some attractions like the Elephant cave on the way (closer to Ubud), so if you were staying in Ubud and wanted to go, you could maybe fold it in to a trip to look at some temples. The scenery on the way was spectacular, too, frankly the drive itself was a wonderful experience.

The market was just amazing. It was PACKED with gorgeous fabric, woven traditionally (although not natural dyes) for about 1/3 of what you would pay for it elsewhere in Bali – which is again drastically cheaper than in Australia, if you could even find it. The most expensive fabric I saw was 120,000 IDR which is about AU$13 per metre.


Just stacks and stacks and STACKS of gorgeous Ikat. There was also plenty of non-Ikat fabric. I bought two lengths of ikat, two of solid coloured fabric, and also a large scale gingham. There was also lots of stripes and checks and all kinds of patterns. Mostly shirting weight or a bit heavier.


Here’s my haul. I had real trouble photographing those solids, the colour is so rich and the photos wash them out. They’ve got a bit of a shot cotton effect.


I bought 5M of each of these solids thinking that would be enough to make a shirtdress but of course it’s woven on a traditional loom so they’re only 1M wide. I should still get some kind of dress out of that length, it might just have to be short sleeved and not have a giant pleated skirt. Perhaps another B6055? Whatever I make out of this will be glorious, the fabric has such a wonderful hand and the depth of colour is stunning.

The solids were something like IDR 60,000 (about AUD$7) per metre and the ikats were just under IDR100,000 (about AUD$11) per metre. A steal. The woman who I bought the majority of this from had very minimal English, but everyone in the market knew ‘how much?’ and ‘per metre’ and if things got hairy after that they would punch the number out on their calculator. As I was buying these a couple of French women were buying with only hand gesticulations, so language isn’t an issue. You can bargain, but I didn’t really bother because everything was already so cheap – a 50c per metre difference is not much for me but it’s a lot for the vendor. I did get an automatic discount for buying multiple lengths in one spot, which is a standard thing around Bali, so bear that in mind.

The Ikats, hanging out to dry
The Ikats, hanging out to dry. They were a bit stiff but softened up nicely with a wash.

I was actually so overwhelmed by the fabric that I didn’t even look at the other areas of the market! I will just have to go back another time… If you are considering going and you have the time during a stay in Bali, I would definitely recommend the Klungkung markets. Even had I not bought anything, I think it was worth it as an experience. I wish I’d had enough money to buy more of the stripes and planer fabrics because I think they would be excellent ways to work a bit more interest into a handmade wardrobe like mine, where I prefer solids but don’t want to be boring. I also wanted to get some Ikat with a black background to maybe make a shirt with Steven, but without him there I couldn’t find one I was sure he’d like, so I left them behind.

Jalan Sulawesi in Denpasar

The next stop was Jalan Sulawesi in Denpasar – the fabric street. This was about an hour’s drive or perhaps a bit more from Klungkung. If you’re already staying in Denpasar, or going there on a day tour, I would definitely recommend a stop over at Jalan Sulawesi. I spent just under an hour there and got some excellent stuff.

In the Trip Advisor photos it looks quite open and easy but my experience was that it was CRAMMED. The parking is down one end of the one-way street, and there were tonnes of cars. It was very hot and sunny, and the strip of shops have awnings pulled down to protect the fabric and people from the sun so it was a lot more claustrophobic than in the Trip Advisor pics. The shops themselves are just totally filled to the brim with fabrics, so you have to sidle through, the exception being the store selling quilting fabric, which is very open. I did stop and buy a jellyroll as a gift and it was reasonably priced and the fabrics look beautiful. However of course I was much more interested in the garment fabrics.

I found the first couple of stores a bit of a bust, lots of fussy prints and polyester. Some nice fabrics (lots of Liberty knock offs) but not to my taste. But further in there were some real gems. I find it hard, in Adelaide, to find good, solid basics, especially in bottom-weight fabrics. Here I found plenty, as well as lots of shirting weight cottons and linen in every weight and quality you could want!

The viscose I ended up buying
The viscose I ended up buying

I did find I got hassled a fair bit – there was a woman there who I think must be a bit of a broker for some stores because she followed me down the row trying to talk me into buying things at various stores. She did in the end talk me into some linen. She saw I was also interested in the viscose there but at that point I had run out of money and didn’t buy any. However after heading back to the car I decided that I would just go back to our resort rather than stopping for lunch, and that I would regret the viscose so I went back and spent my lunch money on it! The store owners seemed pleased that I was paying them directly, so I don’t know what that woman’s relationship with the stores was or if I did something very rude by not going through her. Honestly I found her very annoying and it made it hard for me to shop like I wanted to. Next time I would be more aggressive about refusing people like that and just doing my own shopping.

Viscose selection

I spent the most in a shop a couple down from the quilting store. Partly because they had some really excellent basics, but also because they pretty much left me alone unless I asked a question. They had tonnes and TONNES of linen, and they also had swatch cards so you could flip through easily and then they’d find that one for you on the shelves. There was some lovely patterned linen that I lusted over but didn’t buy because I was mostly looking for solids. I did buy there two long lengths of ‘baby canvas’ – a rich warm beige and a black – and honestly I wish I had bought about 10m of each instead of 3 of the beige and 5 of the black. This is exactly the sort of thing I always want and is almost impossible to find here. It was about AUD$5 a metre. I bought this with my grandma in mind – she has asked me to make her a skirt but lamented the lack of good fabric. ‘What’s happened to gaberdine?’ she wanted to know ‘Where did gaberdine go?’ Good question, Grandma, I wish I knew the answer. Anyway I also got 5m of ‘supernova’ fabric for a shirtdress, although now it’s pre-washed I’m worried it might be a bit light for that. It’s like a very very light chambray. If it doesn’t become a dress it will be an excellent top of some kind. It was about AUD$4 a metre.


My haul from jalan Sulawesi – plus the large scale gingham from Klungkung markets.  The two on the left are the baby canvas and the middle are linen and ‘supernova’ cotton – or maybe it was a cotton linen blend?

Swatch cards - very handy
Swatch cards – very handy

The store where I tool the most snaps was the one where I eventually caved and bought the linen – again to make a skirt for my grandma, if she likes it. I hope she does like it because it’s a bit too beige for me, but it’s a very lovely heavy, drapey linen. This store had a lot of nice linen also, higher quality than the other store and appropriately a bit more expensive. The linen was more like AUD$12 a metre. This is also where I bought the viscose and they had some really nice prints – a nano iro knock off and some nice botanical prints. I went with the ferns. No idea what it will be, I got 3M so that’s enough for a plain dress or a top maybe. It’s a nice weighty fabric. What would you turn it into?

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Look at all those linens! I am in lust with those stripes but I keep buying shirting weight fabrics in blue and white stripes so I’m not allowed any more until I make something with them!

Anyway. That was my haul and I only got about five stores down! Then I’d spent all my money and went home 😛 Another time I would like to go the whole length of the street before buying anything, which was my intention but then I started getting hassled and got flustered. It was quite overwhelming, lots of things happening and lots of choices, so be prepared. It absolutely was worth it for me because I honestly just don’t have access to those fabrics here, at least not within my budget. I didn’t see many knit fabrics – a few but not many – but who knows what was further down the street!

I was going to go to Alta Moda in Kuta as well, but given that with traffic it’s another 45-60 minutes each way, and that I’d already spent my money, I gave it a miss. I’ve heard it’s a wonderland, although more expensive. I bet I would have found some knits there. Perhaps next time.

Even considering the cost of the driver for the day, this came out at a very good price for fabric – especially for a fussy cheapskate like me! Got some good quality stuff at very low prices. I’ve managed to cram it into my stash but only because my pre-holiday sewing cleared up some room. I really really need to focus on sewing down that stash. I’m helped by the fact that the Spotlight in town has closed, so it’s much harder to get sucked in to sales prices for fabric I don’t really need. I’m hoping this will mean fewer, but better, stash acquisitions. There’s still Lincraft for notions and they have better basic fabrics and zips etc anyway, so it’s not like I’m deprived.

Anyway, I hope that was of use or interest to someone! Now I just have to start planning what to do with my haul…

Turnstone skirt

Hello lovelies! Here is my new favourite make (my favourite is always whatever I most recently finished, ofc), the skirt from Simplicity 1166.

I’d already made the top, but the skirt was what originally made me purchase the pattern. I don’t buy many skirt patterns because how many variations on ‘cut a rectangle, maybe shape it a little, attach it to a waistband’ does one person need? About three, according to my stash… but I do keep an eye out for skirts with a bit more shaping or some drafting details, and I thought the pleats and shaped waistband of this one would be interesting.

The fabric is a very lightweight cotton denim from DK fabrics. I stopped in to get some silk organza for a presscloth and interfacing, and ended up also getting 3 metres of this at $5 a metre. Couldn’t resist. It’s quite light with a thin stripe through it, and a denim weave, and it’s got a lovely slubby natural quality while also being gorgeous and soft. It’s a dream to wear and I suspect it will wear well. I’ve been thinking about going and getting more to make a shirt, but I think it would make me look washed out if it were close to my face.

I didn’t buy it with this specific pattern in mind, but just because I need some more casual, nuetralish skirts that I can wear with tshirts on the weekend or on casual Friday. I settled on this pattern and then discovered I didn’t have quite enough fabric. This fabric is about 120cm wide, which meant the pattern didn’t quite fit. Which was annoying, since I’d already cut out one front panel. Holding that panel up to my waist I realised the skirt is also LONG, and hit me at a place which made it looks very dowdy, so I folded 3″ of length out of the pattern and managed to fit it on the fabric, just. I had to cut the waistband with the stripes running horizonatally, but I was considering doing that anyways.

Here it is with its intended shirt:

My waist measurement is just over the largest size for this skirt so I held the waistband up to my waist and decided it would be a bit tight, so I added and extra 2″ total to the back waistband. I had meant to add some extra to the side seams when cutting but forgot – and it wouldn’t have fitted on the fabric anyway – so I just sewed the side seams smaller. I also put some elastic in the back – I zigzagged the ends of the elastic to the waistband facing, pulling it tight so it gathers in. I do need it – I suspect the waistband would have fit me perfectly as drafted but then it would have been too tight when I sat down. I don’t at all mind the gathers on such a casual skirt and anyway, a gathered elastic band is better than a falling-off or cutting-in-half skirt.

I do want to move that top button in because it sits where my stomach starts to go in again so right now it sticks out a bit. There’s supposed to be a snap on the inside between the third and fourth button but it sits fine without it so I didn’t add it.

It needs to come in maybe 0.5cm

I also had trouble putting it together. This was about 50% user error and 50% poor pattern writing. I was still a bit sick while sewing this and also did not read the pattern very carefully because it’s a skirt, right? How complicated can it be? Well. I got all the skirt bits together but then they didn’t fit the waistband! I checked and it hadn’t stretched out – I’d stay stitched – although I did find a pleat marking I’d ignored, because I hadn’t been able to work out what the pleat paired with. Always a good sign. Like finding one leftover screw.

I was feeling CROSS with this skirt by this point, so I ended up just sewing it up the back until the skirt fit the waist, and then chopping the extra off. I basted it to the waist and tried it on and it looked… fine, but a bit awkward. I decided I’d go buy some buttons and put them in and see how it hung when properly buttoned.

Before doing this though, after a day of cooling down, I googled to see what other people had made. Seamstress Erin has made one, and mentioned no  issues, and La Sewista has made one – she DID have problems and, like me, couldn’t work out where that pleat was meant to line up. But I could see from both of theirs that their pleats were closer to each other and to the front than mine, and the side seam was not at the sides! You can just see this in the line drawing but it’s not clear, and it’s not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the instructions. The instructions also don’t point out where the pleats line up – they just say ‘sew the pleats by matching up the markings’ or something similar. But there was enough information to tell me that I had done a bad. So I unpicked everything and serged the bits I’d cut off back on. Luckily, in the stripe, you can barely see this at all! Here is the back side of it, so you can see (and also see the evidence of the denim weave:

And here it is on, the join is just barely visible, if you look.

So I re-examined the pattern to figure out where I’d gone wrong. The back panel is actually marked ‘back and side front’ panel, because it is meant to wrap around the front. And there was a pleat line I’d missed – one of the larger size pleat lines is mislabelled ’14’ rather than ’24’ so I’d not seen it. The trick is that there are the two front pleats and then the third pleat goes around the pocket – so there’s a pleat line about two inches from the side seam of the front piece, and another two inches from the side seam of the back piece. The pocket therefore sits in a deep pleat, and it and the side seam are hidden. I found this very hard to photograph, but here are my attempts:

you can just see the pleat seam to the left of the pocket
I’m holding that third pleat open
Pulling the pocket bag out – no dollars but no moths either, thankfully

I still think the sizing is off on the larger size, though. Even after working out my error, the skirt was too big for the waistband – and this is the waistband that I’d added 2″ to! I ended up sewing the side seams at the regular seam allowance, and also taking a bigger pleat. I suspect that the two front pleats should be bigger, and perhaps a bit closer to the placket. From the diagrams, it looks like the front is supposed to be small enough that the pocket bag sits under the facing, which is not the case for me, but perhaps that’s to be expected for the bigger size.

I am still struggling with taking good photos of the insides, sorry.

Anyhow, after a bit of fiddling I got everything together, and the pockets sit exactly where they should, and it looks GREAT. The first time I tried it on after I had sorted out my error I was just thrilled. Luckily this fabric is very forgiving and shows no sign at all of all the times I had to unpick things.

I did consider lining it but decided to keep it breezy and light. It’s long enough that it weighs itself down and I don’t miss the lining. I just top stitched the hem, although I note it drags at the back, just enough that I notice. I thought this might be because I didn’t account for my swayback but I noticed the back hem shows even on the hanger, so I suspect a cutting error when I took the length off. I’ll go back and fix it eventually but I might leave it a while in case the hem drops on the bias. I hung it for two days before hemming, with no dropping, but sometimes it takes a while.

Cat-meo. Cameow?

I also initially put in some square buttons, because they were the only ones I could find that I liked. I knew before I sewed them on that they would always look wonky, and they did. So I took myself off to the Button Bar and Veronica sorted me out, as always, with these round wooden look ones. They’re actually plastic and sewn on backwards because they have an engraved star on the front that I didn’t like. I should have known better than to go anywhere else (the square ones were from Lincraft) but Veronica only works later in the week these days and I bought my buttons on Monday. Didn’t want to wait! Should know better.

I don’t think it really shows in the photos but the placket is a bit wonky at the top. Another time I would top stitch it – the pattern doesn’t say to and I complied, but the wonky is from it rolling a bit unevenly so I would topstitch or at least understitch. I also initially pressed the darts to the side because I find that more flattering, but it looked odd because the side pleat was going the other way, so I went back and pressed them to the front as the pattern directs.

The pockets are pretty small and shallow – they perfectly fit my work pass card, and my phone and wallet fit but feel a bit precarious. Anything too heavy drags the skirt down a bit though so I don’t think I’d bother to change them if I made this a second time. I find the length perfect and would have been overwhelmed if it were any longer. The waistband does fold over the day but I don’t think it looks bad. It just is.

Here’s a TL;DR of the changes I made and problems I had:


  • I made the largest size – size 24 – for my 110cm-ish waist
  • I shortened the skirt 3″
  • I added 2″ to the back waistband and then added elastic to it.
  • I used sew in interfacing because that was the heaviest interfacing I had.


  • The pattern is very unclear about where the pleats go
  • The first two pleats pleat on the front piece
  • The second two pleat around the pocket and side seam – one side of the pleat is on the front, and one is on the back.
  • I found that the skirt was still too big for the waistband, despite having added length to the waistband, so something is very off there.
  • I suspect that the larger size pleats haven’t been sized up enough. If you are making this, I suggest lining everything up to check before you sew the pleats, to see if it will all fit together.

I’m a bit unimpressed with those drafting and instruction oversights, to be honest. I’ve not come across any discrepancies this large before in a Big 4 pattern. However, the original vintage drafting is so clever and neat, and I feel like it gives a perfect amount of volume without compromising on comfort or ease of movement at all. I think this will be the perfect casual skirt – I don’t intend on doing much housework in it but if yoga pants didn’t exist I think this would be the next best thing, and very practical, although I think this fabric might be a bit warm in full summer. I will definitely put this on the list to make again.


Dotty L dress

Hello everyone! Here is my version of the Dorothy Lara dress from decades of style. I’ve been eyeing off this pattern since seeing Tanya’s many wonderful versions – this is the one that tipped me over into wanting to sew this pattern. I started thinking about it more when we started planning another trip to Bali. My teal rayon dress was kaput by this time and I knew I wanted something to take to Bali that would replicate the things I liked about it – short sleeves that covered the shoulders, blousy bodice but this time with a loose skirt, easy to wear fabric. I knew the DL dress would fit the bill but with the conversion rate and postage it would have cost something like AUD$50 to get the pattern! That’s too much for me.

I posted on the CSC asking for recommendations for similar patterns and as a result picked up a Vogue pattern that wasn’t quite what I wanted but is lovely so will definitely be made at some point (thanks to all who helped me out in that thread!). I also started drafting something similar myself, but slowly because – well for one because it’s freezing and I find it hard to sew very unseasonably, and for another because I really wanted to sew the DL dress. I guess it was good because I was only halfway through drafting something myself when Tanya let me know that DoS had released the DL dress as a pdf! I immediately downloaded it, despite being on a bit of a pattern buying freeze until I actually sew up some of the ones in my queue.

The fabric is some I bought last month when I was in Melbourne for the weekend for my sister’s birthday and to see a show with my cousin. It’s from Unique fabrics on Sydney road which is my new favourite place to fabric shop. I initially intended it for pyjamas but then I thought about how good that border print would look as a dress and I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. It’s a little bit out of my usual wheelhouse in terms of colours and design but I really love it. They had it in several colourways including hot pink and orange, and I wish I’d bought some of the others.

Selvedge says 100% cotton satin indofab

It really does feel and drape like satin. Glorious. I bought three metres intending to pattern match my pjs, which meant I had not quite the amount recommended by the pattern. I managed it just fine although wanting to place the pattern in specific ways meant I had to do the layout and cutting all at once – which meant on the living room floor, which I always find a pain.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. First was muslining. I traced out the size 44″ bust which is the second to largest size. I have a high bust of 41″ and a full bust of 46″ but I figured there’d be plenty of ease in that bodice. I was going to trace a size down for the shoulders and neck but when I looked at the pattern, there wasn’t that much difference there so I just traced the straight size 44″. Here’s that first muslin:

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It was VERY baggy. I could probably fit a couch cushion down there! When I pinched out the neckline it sat much nicer so I took a 1.5″ wedge out of the front neck – losing 3″ in all. This meant taking the width from the bodice piece, the neckline stay and the bias neckline strip. There wouldn’t be much difference in the amount of room between sizes, that part of the pattern piece is a very similar size for all sizes. It says on the pattern that the higher sizes are C cup (if I’m reading correctly?) but I’m an E and there was lots of ease for me, I think this would adapt very easily to various bust sizes.

Anyway here’s the second muslin:


Much better. When I’m making just one change like this I only cut out the one new pattern piece. I only baste my muslins together with a long stitch so it’s easy to take them apart and sub in the new piece. I don’t just muslin for fit – I like the way a muslin lets you figure out how a pattern goes together before sewing up the real thing. I also always tuck or pin a bodice muslin in to a skirt, because I find the weight of the skirt makes a huge difference to fit. Without it this bodice looked pouffy still but with the skirt pulling it down it’s perfect.

I also decided the waist was a bit tight for such a casual blousy pattern. It technically fit but only just, so I added and extra 1″ to just the front waistband. I didn’t change the amount of gathers at the bottom of the bodice, but I brought the gathering area in further to distribute them a bit better, because they looked a bit odd all bunched up with a bigger gap between them. I know that’s the design but I didn’t like how it looked on me. Next time I think I will gather across the whole bottom of the bodice, not just those two spots under the bust – it looks like I did a bad job gathering rather than being deliberate.

I did that for the back bodice – the bottom of the bodice is designed to gather to two points on either side but with my swayback it meant that all the extra fabric was exactly where I didn’t need it, so I simply gathered across the whole. I also didn’t sew down the gathers on the bottom of the bodice, just as a style choice. Where I did sew down I didn’t pull the thread to the back and tie as the pattern says, I merely backstitched at the end of the row of stitching as I would when sewing a seam.

Gosh I love how crisply this fabric gathers. I also left a little gap right at the centre of the neckline where it’s barely gathered at all. In my muslins, when I gathered evenly I got a big ridge of gathers in between my boobs which I didn’t like. When I finished sewing it I was worried it was going to look strange with that gap, it’s really obvious on the hangar. But on me, it has exactly the effect I was hoping of the blousiness falling evenly, so it’s not noticeable – in fact so unnoticeable that I can’t find a photo that shows it!

I’m not sure about the front skirt gathering. I debated distributing it over the whole front skirt, or perhaps moving it just to the hips and leaving the front flat. I really don’t need the extra bulk at the front of my stomach, and it has ended up looking a bit apron-like. But one of the beautiful things about this pattern is that it is assembled as a full front and a full back, and then sewn together at the sides. This makes taking in and letting out easy, and I didn’t want to compromise on that, so I left it as is. I think it’s a bit more pronounced in real life than in these photos but also I am coming to the conclusion that I am not too fussed by it. It’s fine, and it’s clearly in line with the style of the dress. I think there’s about a 50/50 chance that next time  I’d gather the whole front, as well as whether I’d sew the gathers down or leave them free.

I like the just-over-the-butt gathers on the back, though. I feel fine about extra floof there 😛 The back neckline goes up a bit high but again, I’m not fussed by it. I could maybe pinch a small wedge out or take bigger darts next time. Or not stand with my hands on my hips so much… I wasn’t sure about how I cut the waistbands – I was running low on fabric and so the front has the dots and the back is plain. I wasn’t sure about the dots because they mirror the dots on the bodice rather than being offset, but now I’ve decided I like it.

I was really sick last week and spent most of it home from work, in bed. I sewed this dress when I started to get a bit better, I was just desperate to DO something. So the finishing on this is not what I’d like. The waistbands don’t quite meet on the sides, for instance, and they are not quite even in width because I was sewing wonky. It’s a bit of a shame because this fabric and pattern deserve more.

I also did a quick and dirty sleeve hem, so they stick out a bit.

That said, it’s an incredibly forgiving pattern that I think would be a good beginner pattern, because there’s a lot of wriggle room. However, I found the instructions pretty bare bones. Specifically I don’t know if I missed it or if it’s never said which way up the sleeves go. I eventually worked out that they go with the triple notch pointing up, since that’s the notch for the shoulder join, but it took me quite a while. Again, perhaps that was just my fever-addled brain but if you’re a beginner sewing this you might need someone helping you interpret it.

Zip – can you see it?

I wasn’t going to put the zip in – I can technically get it on without it, although it takes some… manipulation. In the end I did though, and I’m glad of it. I want this dress to be something I wear a lot so making it easy is good. I switched the side and put the zip on the right side. I have a bung shoulder – and big boobs! – so reaching around to the left is sometimes tricky. This meant I left off the pocket because I don’t know that I would use just the left pocket. I did cut them out so I can always go back and add them in after. I should work out how to add a pocket in a side seam with a zip, maybe.

Btw there’s no cat involved in this photo shoot. This is what he was doing while I was taking these photos


The neckline, bodice and waist and skirt seams are all enclosed so I left those raw, for better gathers. I serged the sleeves and the sleeve seam of the bodice before attaching them, and once everything else was attached I serged from armpit to skirt and back up to the other armpit, before sewing the front to the back. The waistband hypothetically catches itself in when you topstitch but that’s something I’m bad at so I hand stitched the bits I missed.

the neckline and sleeves go together so cleverly. It’s a really neat design – and it’s the place where I feel the worst about my dodgy finishing, but i am refusing to feel too bad about it because it’s fine and done is better than perfect. But next time, when I’m not sick, it would be easy to take just a little extra time and make this neat and beautiful.

I really liked the length when I tried it on so I did the teeniest hem. it had to wait until I went and bought more thread though because I didn’t have any purple thread! I just topstitched the hem. A piece of the selvedge art shows at the front but I don’t care.

I am so thrilled with everything about this dress. I can see myself living in it in summer – it’s so easy and pretty and neat. In person it’s hard to miss the retro lines – I feel like it looks a lot more modern in photos somehow. It still looks modern in person, too but somehow the 1940s-ness is more obvious – maybe it would be less so if I changed the gathers on the front skirt. I loved the way the construction hinted at the time of design in its conservative use of fabric and the pieces clearly intended to be easily mended and replaced – or to fit a person as they gained and lost weight, or to be the perfect handmedown as well as the perfect dress to throw on with little notice to go to your office or factory job… or a dance hall. Plenty of room for movement while still looking fresh and cool. Which makes it absolutely perfect for modern women today!

In fact I love this one so much that I have already cut out another one! This one only took a few hours to throw together so it should be long before the next one is hanging up in my wardrobe.

Wear are they now 2016 – part 2

Continuing on from the first part, a review of the makes of the last 18 months or so, in roughly chronological order.

This bluegingerdoll hack:


Nope. Too short, felt weird in it, it went to the op shop almost immediately after I blogged it.

Tennessee dress:

Felt pretty iffy about it at time of construction, but ended up wearing it a TONNE over summer. It’s definitely a ‘home and to the shops’ dress – I wouldn’t wear it to a picnic or anything – but it’s a nice version of what it is. The hem has grown though, so I have to hack it off and even it out before this summer.


Japanese flowers dress:

This is actually the dress that prompted this series. I took this dress to Bali last year and it was exactly the perfect dress for there – not too much fabric in the skirt, breezy blousy top, shoulders covered, the rayon means it feels like I’m barely wearing anything. But when I got back home, I barely wore it. I just don’t feel good in straight skirts anymore – plus a straight skirt in rayon means it wrinkles like woah when I sit. I did wear it a few times and one of those times was to a colleague’s retirement party. The man standing in front of me during the speeches kept edging backwards, so in order not to have his butt pressed against me I also had to edge backwards. Somewhere towards the end of the speeches I ended up pressed up against the catering table, and eventually sat on a cupcake. It was very undignified, and the icing left a large (brown) grease stain on the back of the skirt which nothing I have tried can get out. I have enough fabric left to recut that panel, but by that point I had decided I didn’t like the skirt and I don’t have enough to cut a fuller skirt. I am keeping an eye out at spotlight for more of this rayon but despite this  colour continuing to appear in their catalouges, none of the stores I’ve visited have had it in stock. If I do see it I’ll grab it and change out the skirt because I do like the bodice of this dress. I am considering making another version, new, with a 1/4 circle skirt.

(Those sandals also died at the end of summer and I miss them. They were the best)

Christmas skirt and dress:

I mean obviously these haven’t gotten much wear since I made them… Still very pleased with them though. I did make and almost finish another version of that dress but I’m dissatisfied with it. A large part of that is that the collar looks very odd with a jumper or cardigan, making it not wearable in my freezing office. I’ve put it away to think about and might come back to it when it’s closer to the actual kind of weather I would wear it in.

Gingham skirt

Wore this a bunch last summer but I really need to do some fixes to it. It sags at my swayback so I need to figure out a way to retrofit some elastic or something to suck it in. the lining also creeps up over the waistband, and it’s not a simple fix because it’s the teeniest bit smaller than the outer fabric so I can’t just topstitch it. I might have to hand tack it down. I’d like to do that soon because it’s a very versatile skirt and I’d like to have it in my wardrobe rather than the mending pile, as the weather warms up.

By Hand London Anna dresses:

Number one

Loved this dress in summer. Made me feel like a queen. However, I think either i need more ease or the rayon has tightened up just a bit or both. By the end of summer it felt a bit tight. Need to pull it out again and see how it’s fitting now. I also think that, in general, I need to  be careful of overfitting things.

Number two

I absolutely adore this fabric, but this one is definitely too tight. I feel self conscious in it. Again I need to try it on and see how it is now. I am loathe to part with it because the fabric is so perfect but it might have to go.

Number three

I’ve worn this maybe twice. I just feel self conscious in it. This is the dress that made me realise I just don’t like prints very much, especially near my face. Objectively I think it looks good but I always feel a bit awkard in it. I’m waiting for warmer weather to reassess whether I should keep it because it’s comfy and cool, or if I should remake the skirt, or if it needs to go. Either way, I wouldn’t call this one a success.

Rayon moneta:

Also wore this a tonne in summer. Hem has also stretched, needs fixing. love this dress, the firmer fit and more organise print makes it feel a bit neater than the Tennessee rayon dress. Would happily make another of these if I find more knits I like in summer. The moneta is such a good pattern for me.

Kimono tees

These two rayon ones are also having the hem stretch business. They got worn a whole lot in summer, they’re lovely and floaty. The various black and white ones I made in firmer knits were worn in high rotation until it was too cold for anything but long sleeves. I love this pattern although I might have enough of these for now. I do need to trace it off in a smaller size to make one for my cousin.

Denim skirt

Still one of my easiest, most worn skirts. Total win. This pattern is now also my standard pattern I use to cut lining for skirts.

School witch skirt and Jungle skirt


I’m lumping these in together since they’re the same pattern. I haven’t worn these for a while – I keep wanting a bigger bottom silhouette and in winter I wear enough layers on top that that + the thick pleats make my waist feel bulky. I’m putting these on hold till warmer weather and if I haven’t worn them by summer they might go. Even if that happen though I still consider these successes, as I loved them and wore them every week for a full season.

That brings me up to about six months ago so I think I’ll leave it there. I plan to keep doing these regularly, it’s really interesting to  see common threads in the fails (bad pattern to fabric match, poor style choice, poor workmanship, overfitting, not picking styles I will actually wear) and also to see how my style has changed. Some of these photos I just want to hike the waist up to sit higher, whereas I used to always prefer skirts to sit at my natural waist I like them at my high waist these days. Wanting bigger skirts, and leaning into cut on sleeves are all recent things for me. Some of it is finding my style and some is just my style shifting.

Also it’s nice to see that my photos are  consistently much better! Very pleasing.

KaiHua robe

Does anyone else find it hard to start a blog post? I always feel like I should have an introductory paragraph before launching into the actual details. Perhaps I’m just over educated. This blog post will lay out the reasons behind, and the making of, a robe. It will aim to prove that the robe is very nice, making things is good, and that sometimes patterns are worth paying for even if they are expensive and you could hypothetically draft that yourself. The author will argue that pink is not a colour she normally wears but actually it’s quite nice.

Ahem. So. A robe. This is part of my plan to step up my ‘loungewear’ game, I made it before my Springfield hack. I specifically had in mind that I am going to Bali again in October and I need to sew some more weather and holiday-style appropriate things, and I thought a robe would be a nice, luxurious start – something to swan around in in the morning before putting on proper clothes, or in the evening after a swim and a shower. I thought a bunch about drafting my own because like… it’s basically a couple of rectangles, right? In the end I bit the bullet and bought the Named Asaka robe because I figured I only wanted to sew one robe rather than test a bunch of shapes, and I was paying for someone else having thought about proportion, drape, etc. Plus those sleeves.

The pdf was easy to put together and everything went fine. I initially lengthened the robe by 6”, so it took up every single inch of the fabric I had, and I had to piece the belt in about four places.


The fabric is voile from spotlight that I bought because, despite the fact that I don’t really wear pink, or prints, or busy florals, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The fourth time I went back to look at it it was on sale so I bought it. I got I think 4 or 5 metres, which would have been enough for a dress, but then couldn’t pull the trigger on actually making it up because… I don’t really wear pink, or prints, or busy florals. So I was really pleased to be able to both use my stash and also make use of this fabric in a way I love. Because it is a directional print I couldn’t flip the pieces to be more efficient, and I lengthened the robe and therefore made the bottom swing out even wider so I just fit everything on. I had fun playing pattern layout tetris though!

I made a size 44 shoulders grading to 46 at the top of the armscye, which is my standard MO (I think I have those sizes right. I didn’t take good notes, but I definitely graded betwqeen sizes). I made no other adjustments, figuring it’s a robe with lots of ease so specific bust fitting wouldn’t be needed. I didn’t bother with a muslin, either. I used heavy iron-in interfacing from spotlight, and I think I need to up my interfacing game. This stuff is fine but not great, and I can see that as my sewing gets better my makes are going to start being let down by dodgy, bubbly interfacing. Anyone have any in-Australia interfacing recs?

I French seamed everything which meant the belt loops were a bit fiddly – I just did the first step of the French seam and then sewed the loop in with the second pass. It took a couple of tries to get everything caught in the seam properly, but was definitely worth it. I also added another loop at the neck, using the same pattern piece, for hanging the robe up.

French seamed armhole
Hanging loop

The neck facing is a bit of a bodge job, I was ready to be done by that point so it’s a bit wonky but coming back to it after a few weeks to photograph it I went to check the flaws and couldn’t really find a bit that was particularly bad so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It’s certainly not my best sewing but it’s not going to be something I notice every time I wear it, you know? I also forgot to lengthen the facings when I lengthened the robe, although I don’t think I would have fit that on my fabric anyways.

Belt loops

However, once I had the robe made up, I tried it on and felt like it was too long. I lopped off 4” so that my finished robe is 2” longer than the pattern intends (and with the last 2” pieced). And it’s short! Like ‘make sure you’re wearing underwear you like before you bend over’ short. So be warned. I actually did like the longer length and might consider making it up like that in a warmer fabric, but it wasn’t what I was aiming for with this.

Seamed placket


The sleeves are cut so it’s easy to do a french seam and then separately finish the edges. The sleeves are really well drafted. I am idly considering piecing the fabric leftovers and sewing them into a tasuki to keep them out of my way if I want to do dishes or whatever. But on the other hand, I’d like to discourage myself from doing any form of housework while wearing this robe 😄 I could probably tie them in a knot if I really wanted to do something that they’d be in the way for.

You can also see here that my swim bottoms have worked their way down below my belly button

I was a bit surprised by how little instruction there was for finishing it nicely, I think it’s a pattern that lends itself to a beginner intermediate sewer and I would have liked to have seen French seams at least suggested, at least for the seams that will be visible.

Personally, I was paying for the drafting not the instructions so even though I would consider this quite an expensive pattern, it was worth it for me. This is a simple pattern but the proportion and design is lovely and much better than what I would have drafted myself. I am thrilled with my robe and cannot wait for the appropriate weather to wear it!

See also: Bimble and pimble; Lily sage and co; Pigeon wish

Do not see: this white nonsense photoshoot (I feel weird enough about wearing a ‘kimono’ can we not do the hands thing please??)

Bonny swim set

You guys, I am a MAGICIAN. Look!


Ok so it’s not that big of a deal, what with all you geniuses out there making actual bras and couture coats and the like, but honestly, I feel like a g-d genius. And so THRILLED.

I probably should have done this photoshoot at the beach but it’s COLD and I couldn’t wait to show you this. I fully intend to report back one this one gets the actual swim test, so perhaps I’ll do another photoshoot in a more appropriate location then.

This is the Patterns4Pirates swim set, consisting of the Siren swim top and the Hello Sailor swim bottoms (you get a discount if you buy them together). I had seen these before but first thought about making them myself when I saw Michelle’s review on the Curvy Sewing Collective.

The top seemed like just what I have been looking for for… maybe a decade. Even when I fit into RTW swimwear I couldn’t find something to fit my specs. All I wanted was a bikini top that acted like a bra – I wear wireless bras also so wireless is much better for me especially in something like a swim top where I want a lot of movement and comfort. And I wanted it to NOT be a halterneck. My boobs are heavy. They are heavy enough that I have neck issues just from carrying them around wearing a good supportive bra (and I have comparatively small boobs – I’m an E/DDD cup which is honestly not that big) so WHY in all that is good would I want to literally hang them off of my neck? That’s a recipe for both a migraine and a black eye. No thanks.

Of course, I could never find such a top. I have some ok one pieces, and they are great for swimming laps but I really really really wanted a bikini. S even bought me a custom made one off of etsy for christmas one year but it just doesn’t fit right and… it’s a halter neck. So I never wear it and then I feel sad.

So. I saw this bikini and I thought ‘I bet I could do that’. I bought my fabric from the Remnant Warehouse and it came so quick, I was impressed. The fabric is this Aqua Life chlorine resistant stuff and I also bought aqua swim lining and rubber elastic from them. The fabric was really nice and actually quite easy to work with, although slippery enough that I had to go slow. The one issue I had that it was quite hard to tell the right side from the wrong side, to the extent that either the top or the bottom is cut the wrong way. And they BOTH have the grainline running sideways because  I cut the top, decided I’d cut it the wrong way and sewed it so the cross grain is on front, and then did the same with the bottom. But the other way.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because there is equal stretch both ways – I know, because I tried to use that to give me an indication of the right side! In the end, I just used the side that felt nicest because it clearly looks pretty much the same to me. Next time I would choose which side is the right side at the start and mark that, and make sure I track it while I’m sewing, so at least I will be consistent. That said, I honestly don’t think you can tell that the top and the bottoms are different sides of the fabric. I used poly thread and lightning stitch throughout and I started out with a regular foot before switching to my walking foot, which made it a lot easier.

You’re a KITTY!

My overlocker is in for a service and it’s waiting for a part so I just went ahead and did it all on my sewing machine. That means there’s a couple of unfinished seams on both top and bottom where the bands attach, but I can always go back and finish them later.

I did not like the way the pattern pdf was constructed at ALL. It’s a no trim pattern, where you just overlay the sheets of paper on each other. Which is great in theory but it made it a bit hard to see if I was lining it up properly because there’s no grid or joining marks. There were also a couple of pieces where corners and curves were missing because they fell within the edges of the paper that doesn’t get printed. Not a fan. However, I liked pretty much everything else about the pattern – it’s well drafted, the instructions are great, the pdf is tiled so you can print just the size you want, or a few sizes to grade between (a thing I did not realise when I printed them), the pieces are laid out in a logical order so you can just print the first section for the most basic parts of the pattern, and the instructions tell you which pages to print for what view (another thing I did not realise before printing). I really appreciated the range of options in this pattern, plus extra hack ideas on the website. It’s the sort of thing that’s easy to draft but it involves more trial and error than I’m happy with for something like swimwear so I don’t really want to do it myself. So when it’s included in a pattern I feel I’m getting value for money and also that I’m in the hands of someone who cares about her customers.

Mhm. Uh hunh. You don’t say!

The sizing is laid out really well in the pattern, and how to pick your size is explained well. For the top, the biggest three sizes have quite a gap between – I fell between a size XXL and a size 1XL. My bust size is high bust 41″, full bust 46″, under bust 37.5″. I graded between size XXL and 1XL, which was easy to do as it’s a simple pattern shape, and cut a 5″ front length. I did spend like five minutes looking for the band pattern piece before realising you’re just given cut specs for it. I rescind my statement above that I am a genius.

For the top, I chose to use the elastic gathering method for the bust side rouching, because I figured it would act like gentle boning and add a bit of support, which I think worked really well. Obviously it’s not actual boning but it helps hold it in place, especially as I have firm rubber elastic. I only had thin elastic as that’s all that I could find available, so for the straps I threaded two pieces in side by side. I didn’t actually read that there are cut lengths for this part (whoops, doing a lot of not reading atm…), I just fed it in so that it sat at rest inside the straps, and then I basted it in place before sewing the straps in.

I chose the straight straps for ease of getting it on, which I think was good – it’s quite tight by necessity, and so it’s a bit hilarious to get in, especially as my high bust/underbust measurements are so far apart (lots of tugging and rearranging) although it got easier as I tried it on and the elastic got a bit less rigid. I don’t find this a problem but it’s worth noting for people who have a similar or higher bust/underbust ratio to me, and who have mobility issues. If the under bust wasn’t so much smaller it would be ok, so perhaps a drawstring or something would help in that instance? I guess it’s the price for having a no-clasp swim top. I did try stepping into it rather than pulling it over my head, but because my hips are about the same measurement as my bust (but less smooshy – when I put it on over my head I basically have to put it on one boob at a time. TMI city!) it was no go. Something to think about if I want to make a one piece out of this, I guess, I might not be able to use elastic all the way around in that case. Perhaps I could just use it at the front?

Bust gathers

The first part went together so incredibly quickly, but then the fiddly bits and sizing slowed me down. The straps took me a while, and the under bust band totally tripped me up. My under bust size is 37.5, which is again in between sizes. I initially cut the smaller size, because I figured that was a good place for negative ease, since almost all the support of the top comes from the band. Yeah, nope. That’s not a part of my body that has any give (my ribcage) so the band was super tight and rolled up and uncomfortable. I ended up unpicking it, recutting it at 27″ (right in between the suggested sizes for the two sizes I’m in between. Duh). I also switched around the construction a bit here. The instructions have you just double over the material and sew it on the top, but I decided that I wanted to put some elastic in there for more support. What I ended up doing was placing the top and the opened out  band RS together, and basting it with a straight stitch. Then I used a long zig zag stitch to baste some at-rest elastic around the top – so not stretching it at all. THEN I folded the band over and sewed it with lightning stitch, as directed by the pattern.

Two basting stitches still in there.

This resulted in an unfinished seam but it works, and I can always finish it when my overlocker gets back to me. I think I would use this construction method another time, it worked really well (although I was too busy winging it to take pics, sorry! If anyone desperately wants to know leave a comment and I can try to show you on a mockup) and then I’d just finish the seam with serging.

I did not realise when I re-sewed the band on that I’d sewn the join at the front instead of the back, whoops. But actually, the band rolls upwards and you can never see it so… that’s fine? I have a big dent in my chest there from where my bra band sits so the rolling up is inevitable. It’s wide and tight enough to still provide solid support so I’m not worried. This top definitely passed the jump test although we’ll see if it passes the actual swimming test.

Nothing aint going nowhere

I initially thought the top was a bit tight, particularly under the arms, and I was wishing I’d cut the bigger size. But having worn it for photos, it eased out just enough that I think I made the right choice. It was incredibly comfy after about a minute of wear. I think a good change would be to go up a size but use power mesh in the front, which I think would give good support as well as maybe mitigating my always-visible nipple situation – but I didn’t buy any power mesh, so. The support in this top is coming from negative ease, so it needs the squish factor it has.

Flushed with success, I cut out the bottoms. I thought I’d try the side panel version, for fun. I was already thinking I might do the one piece hack and the plainest bottoms would be best for that so I thought I’d get this one in first. Plus, I thought it would be easier to adjust the sizing if I needed it.

Size wise, I was closer to the chart for this one. My waist and thigh measurements are band on the 1XL size. My hip measurement is an XL – that’s two sizes lower! I ummed and ahed and then I ended up just cutting the straight size 1XL because I figured it would be easy to take it in especially with the side panels. In the end I think it came out totally perfect!

I had a bit of trouble easing in the crotch curve, but managed it in the end. I found the notches for the pattern pieces did not match up at ALL on a lot of the pieces. It’s possible this was user error though because I tend to be slapdash about notches if I know they’re not 100% necessary, and they did match up where matching was actually necessary for precision.

I was a bit skeptical about the elastic cut sizes for the leg, and also couldn’t quite work out if I was reading the instructions on how to sew it right, so I basted the leg elastic first. I’m really glad I did because it was TIIIIIIGHTTTTT. The instructions say not to ease it at all in the front of the leg but I found it so tight that I couldn’t help easing it a bit there, and it dug in to me. I wonder if my rubber elastic is more firm than the expected elastic?

You can see the bust gathers at work here

I unpicked it and cut it with an extra 2″, and rebasted. It seemed to work pretty well, although my second leg has a better distribution because I’d gotten the hang of it more. The first leg I did has a spot at the back where I didn’t pull it enough and a spot at the front where it’s a bit tight, but it’s fine. I also turned the fabric under so the raw edge wasn’t showing, based the elastic on that and THEN turned and sewed. I think if I’d had an overlocker available I might have been fine with the technique given, but I didn’t want the unfinished edge there.

The leg edges are for sure the dodgiest part of this make. I think I probably should have used a twin needle rather than a lightning stitch – I had to go back and do another row of stitching in some places but on the other hand, I really appreciate the stretch power of the lightning stitch there. It’s going to be a stress point, so it’s nice to have them feel solid. They look alright on, and I think they’re pretty good for a first go. Next time I would take extra time in this bit. There’s no rush! The bits where I basted and went extra slow are definitely better.


For the waistband I cut a strip the width suggested and then held it around me until it fit right, and then used that. It ended up being 34.5″ which is a bit longer than recommended. I think I probably could have made it a bit tighter, as it creeps down a bit after some movement, but it’s am ok compromise for comfort, although I worry it will stretch out with wear. High waisted things do tend to creep on me because of the shape of my waist. Next time I might consider putting some elastic in the bottoms in the same way I did in the top.

Next time I will scoop out the front leg curve a bit – it still feels like it’s cutting in a bit and you can see it’s rolling in. I compromised by sewing with a wider turnover there but it’s still just a bit long, so next time I’ll scoop it just a bit. I might see if I can go back and copy the next size down’s curve.

I REALLY love the coverage this gives me on the back legs, and on my belly. I actually thought I would be nervous to share these photos and was braced to do it anyway because dammit, it’s my body and I refuse to be ashamed of it. But in the end, I feel totally comfortable! I am so thrilled.

So that was a big ol’ wall of words. Here’s your TL;DR – I love this pattern. I found it really well written and helpful, and I am thrilled by the size range on this. I know there are a lot of people still sized out, which stinks. But it’s definitely a larger size range than most patterns I see around and I appreciate that It’s nice not to be the largest size, like usual! I also love the potential it has, and the hack and suggestions available for it. I am interested in trying out other P4P patterns after this.

I am so thrilled and grateful to finally have a bikini that I look and feel good in, and that is comfortable and practical. A quadruple threat! I honestly never thought it would happen. I also feel very grateful to the CSC and their swimwear month, because although I always intended to get around to swimwear, I felt intimidated and overwhelmed, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten to it this year or even any time soon. The CSC month made it seem possible and even simple, and also introduced me to this pattern! And thanks to everyone on the CSC facebook group who have been so nice and encouraging and excited for me when I posted about this! You have all made me feel very happy. ❤


Wear are they now 2016, part 1

I’ve been thinking lately about which of my makes are and aren’t in my wardrobe, and why that is. I thought it might be useful to go back and look at the last couple of years’ makes and reassess their success or not. My blog posts tend to be ‘this isn’t perfect for these reasons, but basically it’s fine’ and sometimes it is fine, sometimes it’s GREAT and sometimes those imperfections are just too big. So I thought I’d go back until I found the first thing that’s still in current rotation in my wardrobe, and review the things I’ve made since then. Makes from 2014 or earlier tend to have been gotten rid of because my taste or style has changed, or they had some significant beginner flaws like poor fabric to pattern match.

I’ve split this up because it was getting long and very tedious, at some point in the future I’ll do the rest. Be warned, terrible photos from a dying camera and  a dead-faced me coming up!

Special mention:

A special mention goes to my Kasia skirt, which I made in 2012. I still have this, although it’s in a box because I don’t really wear straight skirts much, but I still love it and it fits and looks good so I can’t bear to part with it. It does gape a bit because of the weird construction of the front, but I still remember the thrill of this project – doing something a bit outside my comfort zone, and pulling it off. And I remember how magical it felt to have something in my wardrobe that actually FIT my actual body. Bliss.

Ottobre painted roses:

Still love these. These photos aren’t the best but I haven’t managed a selfie with these ones recently so they’ll do. I didn’t wear them much last summer but mostly for lack of skirts to pair them with. I’m not sure I’ll get much more wear out of the roses one since my style has shifted but I’m giving it another summer to see. Just recently I took the too-tight arms off of the white one and replaced them so hopefully it will get more wear because I did put it on several times over summer and then took it off because the arms were uncomfortable.

This is a great pattern and I still highly recommend it. I’m also thinking of mashing up the armholes and sleeve of this with springfield since this is the best fitting woven sleeve I’ve found for me. Also it’s interesting how although I felt comfortable in that outfit at the time, and I can objectively see it’s fine, I just want to whack a circle skirt on myself in those photos. personal style is a funny thing.

Bluegingerdoll violet:

First blog post in my current house! I actually don’t remember seeing this one in a while. I think it might be in the ‘summer things’ box, or perhaps I got rid of it. It had been relegated to a house dress because the fabric was a bit too thin really. Still like the pattern but not sure I would make it again.

Jasper sweater dress:

I donated it. I felt uncomfortable in the straight skirt, and a bit exposed – I think I need a waistband especially in knits otherwise I feel like I’m wearing pyjamas, and in an exposed way not a  freeing way. All personal style issues – objectively I really liked it and thought it looked good on me, but not like myself. I would still definitely recommend this pattern, it’s so well written and drafted. I would like to make the jumper version at some point, when my RTW jumpers start biting the dust.

My M6696s:

Black Viole:

I think this maybe got worn maybe five times. It’s not a great fabric choice in that it’s very thin so if it’s warm enough to wear it it’s warm enough that I don’t want to wear black. Also it’s see through enough that I really need to wear a slip or something, so then it’s too warm for a slip or too cool for such a light dress.

Fabric choice aside, there are numerous fit issues. The waist is too low all around, which makes me look boxy. It’s WAY too low at the back, and the fix I did to bring the waistline in after I was finished makes the centre back really heavy (I put a tuck in the back waistline) and  so it drags down and feels and looks awkward. Also those sleeves and armholes are pulling like woah. I wore it a few times and always felt a bit rumpled in it. However, it’s still hanging in my wardrobe because I thought it might be good to have an original version of this pattern with not so many tweaks to try on, if I attempt it again. Once I do that or decide not to,  might harvest the fabric for something else because it’s too nice to waste.


This got a LOT of wear last summer. The armscye pulling is a weak point and the seam has had to be repaired there, and it’s still straining. Also, it’s too short. It’s exactly the length I intended it but it now reads as too short to my eye – I initially started thinking the waist was too high but I don’t think it is, I think it’s just that I want a longer skirt. I haven’t been wearing my shirtdresses in autumn and winter because once I have socks or stockings on, I feel like I’m wearing a school uniform, and I think a longer skirt would help mitigate that. Here it is with one of my Bonnies – this was one of my favourite outfits in autumn and I liked it with grey or white knee socks too but then the school girl factor came in too much.


Even as it is the bare knees are giving it a gangly look rather than an elegant one. I have let the hem out with the intention of turning it up with bias tape to get as much length as possible, and patching a bit extra onto the placket, but I have yet to sew it back up again. I think that might get my knees covered but honestly I wish it were hitting a good 3″ lower.

Teal flannel:

This one is sitting in a basket, in pieces. I took it apart to underline it and let it out wher eit was too tight and then couldn’t decide which adjustments I wanted to make, and then decided I didn’t like straight skirts anyways, so it’s been there for a while. I am of two minds about it. I adore this fabric and would love to wear it. But the whole thing is too small and the skirt is too short and if I were making it again from scratch I’d flare the skirt a bit more to give it some oomph – and some more sitting room. So I’m not sure this one is going to get put back together again. That said, I fell for it again a bit looking at these photos, so perhaps I should finish it and see if it gets worn in autumn or spring.

Teal broadcloth:

I still love this dress, a lot. But I also have so many issues with it. Same as above, pulling armscye, collar too wide, too short, and also in this one the waist really IS too high. The broadcloth doesn’t have any give at all so it’s just a wee bit tight and high everywhere. But I just love the colour and the feel of the fabric. I wore this dress at least once a week through summer and autumn and it was my go-to feel good dress, but I also couldn’t stop noticing all the things that are wrong with it. The best, most important thing I learnt from this dress is that I am most comfortable wearing bright, deep solids. That’s when I feel most like my self. Bonus points if I can create a whole monochromatic outfit.

All teal all the time work selfie. The green glasses are because I’m sensitive to the specific spectrum in fluoro lights and without the glasses I get migraines.

I am planning to let down the hem on this one too but I’m also considering just buying more of this fabric and trying for a better fitting bodice. The M6696 has been good to me but it’s just not quite right and I’m not sure I’m going to get it with minor tweaks.

Twister dress:

Meeeeeeeeeeeeh. Too tight, too polyestery, too cutesy. Love the idea, don’t love the reality. Oh well, I had fun making it. I can’t remember if I’ve donated this yet or not but I intend to.

Miscellaneous skirts:

All of these have been donated – the pencil skirt is no longer my style, the black skirt was too wrinkly and the denim was too big and I couldn’t be bothered taking it in.

Bonnies and Moneta with circle skirt:

I still wear the bonnies a lot and I wore the moneta a lot last winter. The waistband stretched out though so everything is now hitting in the wrong spot. I still wear it as an around the house dress although I find the wool a little bit itchy at my elbows.

Violeta (violet + moneta mashup)

Wore this constantly last winter but now I feel too exposed and va-va-voom in the tight skirt. I’ve put it away while I contemplate whether to donate it or not but I haven’t worn it in almost a year so it looks like I will. I did love it and now I don’t.

Solstice dress:

Let us never speak of this again.

Steeplechase bike shorts:

I’ve since made two more batches of these (I can get 4 out of 3 metres) and I wear a pair every day. Possibly the best and most useful things I’ve ever made.

I think this post is long enough now. I’ll pause and do the rest at a later date. Hopefully this is interesting to someone besides me but if not, oh well. Always good to do a stock take!